The Best Residential Proxies: Rotating & Static IPs

Residential proxies are IP addresses assigned to homeowners by internet service providers. In other words, they belong to someone’s computer, phone, or even smart TV on a high speed home network. A residential proxy pool includes thousands or even millions of IPs spread throughout many locations. They’re hard to detect as proxies and allow creating hundreds of threads. So, residential proxy servers have become a popular choice for web scraping protected websites, automating social media, and buying limited edition items, such as sneakers.

We’ve extensively tested and ranked the main rotating and static residential proxy services. This page will help you choose the best provider for your needs. You can also use it to learn more about residential proxies and how they work.

The Best Residential Proxies – Quick Summary:

  1. Smartproxy – the best balance between features and price.
  2. Oxylabs – the best premium residential proxy provider.
  3. Luminati – the provider with the most features.
  4. GeoSurf – quality proxies with thousands of cities.
  5. NetNut – the largest static residential proxy network.
  6. PacketStream – cheap residential proxies with questionable reliability.
  7. Infatica – an affordable premium residential provider.
  8. Storm Proxies – a beginner-friendly option with unlimited bandwidth.

What Is a Residential Proxy?

Put simply, it’s a proxy server that uses an IP address borrowed from a residential user. The term ‘residential user’ is somewhat broad: it can include not only desktop and laptop computers, but also IoT devices like smart TVs or even internet-connected fridges. The same goes for mobile phones, though IP addresses from mobile devices are often sold separately as a premium option.

The important thing is that a residential IP has to be issued by an internet service provider (ISP) and not a data center. This is what separates them from datacenter proxies.

How Residential Proxies Work

When you browse the internet without a proxy or VPN, you simply connect to a website directly. With residential proxies it goes like this:

residential proxies scheme

What happens here is that you connect to a proxy server. It then chooses a residential IP address at random or according to some criteria, and routes your request through it. The website sees the connection as coming from that user and their location. Your own IP, or the fact that you’re using a proxy server, is never revealed in the process.

Residential Proxies = Backconnect Proxies

Residential proxy providers rarely sells IP lists. Instead, they give a backconnect gateway address. It automatically assigns a proxy from the pool of IPs available to the provider at that time. This is done partly because residential connections aren’t stable – a user can simply disconnect their device from the internet, and your connection will be lost.

So, residential proxies inevitably rotate. The default is each connection request, though some providers let you hold sticky sessions with the same IP address for up to 30 minutes. Static residential IPs are an exception to this rule; I briefly cover them below.

How Residential Proxies Are Made

To my knowledge, there are four main ways to acquire residential IPs:

  • Insert an SDK into software people use. Providers like Luminati and Infatica approach developers and offer them to add their code into their apps or extensions. The users who install such an app become proxies. In return, they don’t have to pay or watch ads. Reputable providers always ask for permission and limit their use of resources.
  • Buy traffic from people directly. Proxy provider PacketStream offers people to directly install its app into their devices and sell unused bandwidth. I believe there could be more providers using this method with white-label solutions.
  • Inject malware into people’s devices. This method is part of the reason why proxies have such a dubious reputation among businesses. It creates what we popularly call botnets. Most reputable providers would never use malware; but there are still large proxy services that appear to be relying on it to this day.
  • Lease IP spaces from ISPs. A provider can ask an internet service provider to register a data center IP address with its name. This is how static residential proxies are made. NetNut is one example of such a business model.

The Different Types of Residential Proxies

  • Rotating residential proxies – so-called peer-to-peer proxies where you get an IP address borrowed from a customer of an ISP.
  • Static residential proxies – proxies that come from an ISP but do not involve end users.

Which Type Is Better?

It’s hard to say for certain. Static residential proxies preserve the qualities of datacenter IPs: they’re fast, stable, and don’t need to rotate. Also, you can get them dedicated for your exclusive use. That said, they tend to cover fewer locations; have a lower subnet diversity; and are hard to come by.

Main Use Cases

Residential proxies support most of the general proxy use cases. However, because they’re harder to get and maintain than datacenter IPs, they cost significantly more. So, it makes sense to use residential IPs when:

  • your target is actively looking to block you. Some examples would be most sneaker sites, Google, and social media networks like Instagram.
  • you need broad location coverage. You can get a residential IP in any country in the world. Datacenter proxies are more limited.
  • you want to do high volume scraping. Residential proxy pools comprise millions of IP addresses which can automatically rotate.
  • you want to browse truly anonymously. VPNs hide you but not the fact you’re using a VPN. Residential proxies make it look like you’re browsing as a different person.

Residential vs Datacenter Proxies

Let’s look at the pros & cons of residential proxies compared to datacenter IPs.

ProsCons
  • Residential IPs are much harder to detect as proxies.
  • They support more locations around the world, up to city level.
  • They scale better.
  • They are generally easier to manage.
  • Residential proxies are expensive for traffic-intensive tasks.
  • They can be slower and less stable than datacenter proxies.
  • Some providers get residential IPs using questionable methods.

The Best Residential Proxy Providers

1. Smartproxy

The best balance between features and price. 

smartproxy home page

Smartproxy offers a great value proposition for anyone that needs backconnect residential proxies: be it for personal or business use. It covers all the main features you’d expect, has performant IPs, and doesn’t cost much. The user experience is also impeccable. There are many guides, proxy control tools, and award-winning customer support. You can start using Smartproxy with minimal interaction, as it emphasizes self-service. 

Smartproxy’s only real drawbacks are no SOCKS5 support and limited proxy targeting options (only 8 cities to choose from, no carrier or ASN targeting). 

Features:

  • 40 million peer-to-peer residential IPs
  • Great proxy performance
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • 195 locations (+8 cities)
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions up to 10 mins
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API & browser extension
  • Extensive user documentation
  • Award-winning support

Pricing:

Starts from $75/5 GB ($15/GB). 3-day refund available.

Smartproxy Coupon

Use the code Proxyway to get a 20% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Smartproxy review for more information and performance tests.


 

2. Oxylabs

The best premium residential proxy provider.

Oxylabs sells premium residential proxies for businesses. The provider can offer both static and rotating IPs, though it focuses on the latter option. The proxies cover all countries and most cities in the world. You can even target them by ASN. They offer class-leading performance, and the newly introduced next-gen residential proxies should make the IPs even more robust. You’ll be getting a dedicated account manager and tips to improve your scraping success.

Oxylabs may not be the best option for beginners or individual use. The pricing is somewhat expensive at first and starts from $300. That said, it scales well as you buy up.

Features:

  • 70M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • Best proxy performance
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN targeting
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions up to 30 mins
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • Public API
  • Good user documentation
  • Dedicated account manager

Pricing:

Starts from $300/20 GB ($15/GB). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Oxylabs Coupon

Use the code Proxyway to get a 15% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Oxylabs review for more information and performance tests.


 

3. Luminati

The most feature-rich residential proxy provider. 

luminati residential page

Luminati is the largest proxy provider in the market, and not without reason. It offers a huge pool of rotating and static residential IPs. The proxies have many features, and even allow targeting by carrier. We’ve found their performance to be great when the provider didn’t impose artificial limits. Luminati includes powerful proxy control tools, such as an API, browser extension, and an open source proxy manager. You can subscribe to a pricing plan or pay for as you go. 

Like Oxylabs, Luminati is mostly concerned with business customers. We wouldn’t recommend it for beginners – it can be complex to use, and the pricing structure is somewhat confusing. There’s also a strict KYC which rules out some gray hat use cases. 

Features:

  • 72M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • Good proxy performance
  • HTTP, HTTPS & SOCKS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN and carrier targeting
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API, browser extension & proxy manager
  • Extensive user documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $500/40GB ($12.5/GB). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Visit Luminati

Read the Luminati review for more information and performance tests.


 

4. GeoSurf

Quality residential proxies for a premium price. 

geosurf residential page

GeoSurf is one more premium residential proxy provider. Once again, it offers both rotating and static residential IPs. What distinguishes GeoSurf is that it very much focuses on quality over quantity. The 2.5M IPs are handpicked from tier 1 countries and major consumer ISPs. Another strength of GeoSurf is extensive location coverage (over 1,000 cities) and flexible rotation settings. Naturally, there’s an API and a browser extension to simplify tasks that require geo-targeting.

On the downside, GeoSurf is among the most expensive providers. The limited proxy pool may mean that you’ll encounter abused IPs more often. And the company recently lost a lawsuit to Luminati, so its future is uncertain.

Features:

  • 2.5M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • Stable and robust proxies
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions for 1/10/30 mins
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API, browser extension
  • Good user documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $450/38 GB ($11.85/GB). Demo session available.

Visit GeoSurf

Read the GeoSurf review for more information and performance tests.


 

5. NetNut

The largest static residential proxy provider. 

netnut home page

NetNut focuses on selling static residential proxies only. It’s the largest provider of such IPs. The proxies are always available and don’t need to rotate, so they work very well for things like social media management. NetNut has separate pools for use cases, and you can rent IPs for your exclusive use. In our performance tests, the proxies performed well and lagged only slightly behind the market leaders. You can rent the IPs by traffic, or successful requests if your needs are big enough.

NetNut isn’t the easiest provider to use, and it’s best if you need proxies at scale. The cheaper plans lock features, such as API access or Skype support. And if you want very granular geo-targeting, its variety of locations might let you down.

Features:

  • 5M static residential IPs
  • Good speed and performance
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • 50 countries, city and state targeting in the US
  • Rotation every request or keep the same IP
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users (with a reseller account only)
  • API, browser extension
  • Mediocre user documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing: 

Starts from $300/20 GB ($15/GB). 7-day free trial available.

Visit NetNut

Read the NetNut review for more information and performance tests.


 

6. PacketStream

Very cheap residential proxies with questionable reliability.  

packetstream home page

PacketStream has extremely affordable residential proxies thanks to its unique business model. It buys bandwidth directly from people and then resells it to customers. This lets PacketStream offer IPs for as little as $1/GB, and a pay-as-you-go model. When we tested the network, the performance was great. But it seems that PacketStream has inflated its proxy pool numbers, and we doubt they reach the advertised 7 million IPs. As a result, you can quickly start getting duplicated proxies, especially if you select a more exotic location.

Still, its price and ease of use make PacketStream a decent option for beginners. Just note that the minimum deposit is $50, despite the low price per GB. Businesses that need a reliable service should look elsewhere.

Features:

  • 7M (?) rotating residential IPs
  • Robust performance
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Global locations with country targeting
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions until available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • User:pass authentication
  • Email support

Pricing:

Starts from $50/50GB ($1/GB). Free trial available.

Visit PacketStream

Read the PacketStream review for more information and performance tests.


 

7. Infatica

A raw but affordable business residential proxy provider. 

infatica residential page

Infatica is a relatively new provider that sells peer-to-peer residential proxies for businesses. It tries to compete with the likes of Oxylabs, GeoSurf, and Luminati by offering most of the same features at better prices. In reality, Infatica’s proxy network works pretty well and includes all the basic features. It also scales into hundreds of requests per second without issues.

Pricing aside, Infatica still has ways to go, especially in terms of user experience. The documentation is very barebones, the dashboard uncomfortable, and proxy controls somewhat clunky. But if your company wants to save some money on proxies, Infatica can prove a good alternative to the big guys.

Features:

  • 10M rotating residential IPs
  • Average performance
  • SOCKS5 protocol with only HTTP(S) traffic
  • Around 100 countries
  • 1-hour proxy rotation 
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • Minimal user documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $360/40GB ($9/GB). 7-day free trial available.

Visit Infatica

Read the Infatica review for more information and performance tests.


 

8. Storm Proxies

Affordable residential proxies without bandwidth limits. 

storm proxies residential page

Storm Proxies sells rotating residential proxies in the US and EU. Its main strengths are affordable pricing, instant setup and unlimited bandwidth. On the other hand, the provider has very narrow location coverage, fewer features, and doesn’t scale very well. The performance is mediocre at best, at least when we tried it.

Overall, Storm Proxies is a good beginner’s choice if you’re working with unprotected websites and don’t want to worry about bandwidth limits. You shouldn’t use it for demanding or location-sensitive tasks.

Features:

  • 70,000 rotating residential IPs
  • Mediocre performance
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • US and EU locations
  • Rotation every request, 5, or 15 minutes
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • Simple to use
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $19/1 port. 24-hour free trial available.

Visit Storm Proxies

Read the Storm Proxies review for more information and performance tests.

Frequently Asked Questions About Residential Proxies

Who Has the Best Cheap Residential Proxies?

  • Smartproxy – a great choice if you want residential proxies with many features, great performance, but still at a reasonable price tag.
  • Storm Proxies – an even cheaper option that sacrifices some features (like location targeting) and performance.
  • PacketStream – a wild card that works well but might have a small IP pool.

Where to Buy Premium Residential Proxies?

  • Oxylabs – we’ve chosen it as best residential proxy provider for the second year in row. Many features, great performance, dedicated customer support.
  • Luminati – another premium residential proxy provider with every feature under the sun, powerful proxy controls, and respectable performance.
  • GeoSurf – a provider with quality proxies and very precise location targeting.

Can I Buy Static Residential Proxies?

Yes. More and more providers are starting to offer residential proxies that come directly from internet service providers and not end users. We feature a few of them in our list.